Components of the School Counseling Program
A guidance curriculum component is necessary as a part of a comprehensive guidance program that will address a majority of the guidance competencies contained in the content element. The guidance curriculum consists of structured developmental activities presented systematically through classrooms and large groups from kindergarten through grade 12. The purpose of the guidance curriculum is to facilitate students’ optimal growth and development by assisting them to acquire competencies that promote academic achievement, positive mental health, and life career skills.
The administration and management activities of a district’s comprehensive guidance program are located in this component as are activities that support other educational programs. The system-support component is implemented through activities such as program management, fair-share responsibilities, professional development, staff and community relations, consultation, committee participation, community outreach, and research and development.
The purpose of the responsive services component is to work with students whose personal circumstances, concerns, or problems are threatening to interfere with or are interfering with their healthy personal, social, career, and educational development. Specific issues some students face include academic success, career choice, child abuse, cultural diversity, dropping out of school, educational choices, family loss, relationships, school attendance, stress, substance abuse, and suicide. As a result, there is continuing need for individual counseling, small-group counseling, consultation, and referral. The responsive services component also supports the activities in the guidance curriculum and individual planning components. Parent/guardian involvement with and participation in the activities of this component are critical in helping students overcome barriers to their educational progress and academic achievement. Parent/guardian involvement may include referring their children for assistance, working with professional school counselors to identify issues of concern, giving permission for needed services, and providing help in resolving issues. Responsive services are implemented through the following: individual counseling, small-group counseling, consultation, and referral.
An individual planning component in a comprehensive guidance program is needed. The foundation for individual planning is established during the elementary school years through guidance curriculum activities in which students participate. Self-confidence development, the acquisition of learning-to-learn skills, interpersonal relationship skill development, decision-making skill building, and awareness and beginning exploration of educational and occupational possibilities are sample subjects covered during these years. Subjects such as these continue to be covered through the activities of the guidance curriculum during middle school and high school, providing new information and experiences to enable students to regularly update, monitor, and manage their plans effectively.